The dystopia of Messina Ciccone, the Florio series, Swamy Rotolo in «I and the Dry»: Sicily and Calabria at the Rome Film Festival


By John

Touching stories and great performers from Sicily and Calabria at the Rome Film Festival, both in the official program and in the independent section dedicated to “Alice nella Città” children, for the eighteenth edition of the Festival which opens today in the Capital. In a year that boasts a strong female presence, with talented directors and actresses, Emma Dante from Palermo stands outwhich after the great success of «The Macaluso Sisters», returns with «Mercy», an adaptation of his play of the same name, staged last year at the Biondo in Palermo. Previewed among the festival’s Special Screenings, the film, like the original text, describes a squalid reality, steeped in poverty, illiteracy and provincialism. A contemporary fairy tale, as the director herself defined it, about the fragility of women, set in a small seaside village in Sicily. The protagonists of the film are Simone Zambelli, who already performed the original text in the theatre, the Erice actress Simona Malato, the Palermo artists Sandro Maria Campagna, Tiziana Cuticchio and Milena Catalano and Fabrizio Ferracane, originally from Mazara del Vallo. The latter is also present in Alice nella Città with the film «The Cage», where he plays a charismatic priest leader of a religious sect. A story of life and sport signed by Massimiliano Zanin, among the Special Screenings of the “Panorama Italia” section.

Another important female presence in the “Freestyle” out-of-competition section with Anne Riitta Ciccone from Messina and her new film «The Immortals». A dystopian setting for a story between religion and the supernatural, defined by MyMovies as a Greek tragedy with the styles and rhythms of science fiction cinema. The protagonists are Gelsomina Pascucci and David Coco from Catania, flanked by a cast that includes the young actress from Palermo Roberta Sardella, Flora Contrafatto from Caltagirone and, in a special participation, Maria Grazia Cucinotta from Messina.

In the same section also the highly anticipated series «The Lions of Sicily», available October 25 on Disney+. An adaptation of the best-selling literary saga by the Trapani writer Stefania Auci (Editrice Nord), set in nineteenth-century Palermo, reconstructed in the Sicilian capital between Piazza Pretoria, Piazza Bellini, Piazza Villena, Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele. Directed by Paolo Genovese, with a mostly Sicilian cast, including Miriam Leone, from Acireale, protagonist together with Michele Riondino; Donatella Finocchiaro and Ester Pantano from Catania and Paolo Briguglia from Palermo.

Important presences also at Alice nella Città. After the acclaimed performance of «A Chiara», which earned her the David di Donatello 2022 as best leading actress, the Calabrian Swamy Rotolo, from Gioia Tauro, is in the cast of the coming of age «Io e il fino», the first film by Gianluca Santori. A contemporary fairy tale from the side of the kids, the only Italian film in the main competition. While Francesco Colella from Catanzaro, after «The Good Mothers», will be the protagonist of «Suspicious Minds», dramedy signed by Emiliano Corapi. A game of slaughter between two couples different in age but similar in emotions, competing in the “Panorama Italia” section. The Palermo actor and cinematographer Vincenzo Pirrotta will instead be in the out-of-competition film «Superluna»a coming-of-age story co-produced by Italy and Belgium and directed by Federico Bondi.